tri-Ace's third installment in the Star Ocean series has been shrouded in secrecy since its announcement, but some nuggets of info are starting to be made public. Japanese magazine Famitsu recently sat down with Yoshiharu Gotanda and Isanori Yamagishi, respectively the director and producer of Star Ocean 3: Till the End of Time. Not a whole lot of new dirt was revealed, but considering the current status of information for the game, a little is enough.
As was previously announced, the battles this time around are going to be a little more freeform. Three party members will take part in each fracas, with attacks possible from any side. The HP and MP meters are replaced by the GUTS meter during fights, and there will also be a special gauge that fills during battle. The purpose of this special meter is unknown but is purported to be of considerable importance. Much like Square's Final Fantasy X, characters can be swapped out during brawls.
The Skills system from the previous outing returns, but it has been simplified to increase the appeal of the game. Item creation, too, has been dumbed down, apparently since a substantial proportion of gamers found the system in Star Ocean 2 to be too confusing. Not everything has been downscaled, though. The friendship aspects return but with more depth and consequently a more significant impact on the progression of the game.
Players will have full control of the camera, at least in non-battle scenes. In a move that is sure to please many, tri-Ace has decided to forego the inclusion of voice acting. There will not be a significant increase in the amount of cut-scenes in the title, with the creators opting to instead spend the majority of the development cycle tweaking the gameplay aspects. While the previous series installment limited the player to exploring one lonely planet, Star Ocean 3, which is set 400 years in the future relative to Star Ocean 2, will allow exploration throughout the galaxy.
The interview ended with the creators hinting that they were hoping to get the title to market before the end of the year in Japan. No solid release plans have been made, but an announcement is imminent. There has been no word yet on whether the game will reach this side of the Pacific.